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Murder at the War A Modern-Day Mystery with a Medieval Setting (Peter Brichter mystery Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Mary Monica Pulver
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

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Book Description

FIRST PLACE, MIDWEST BOOK AWARDS

A murder at the war…

“I was just thinking that the Society for Creative Anachronism is actually very much like the old Norse myth of Valhalla: You can fight all day, get killed any number of times, and still be in great shape for the feast that night!”

…until one of the fighters, Thorstane Shieldbreaker, is genuinely murdered, when the fun turns to deadly seriousness as Lord Stefan von Helle and Lady Katherine of Tretower struggle to solve the crime. Was it one of their own SCA members, a mundane outsider, or Lady Katherine herself?

The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is having a lovely re-enactment of a Medieval war...until one of the participants is actually murdered. It is up to Detective Peter Brichter and his wife Kori (whose SCA names are Lord Stefan von Helle and Lady Katherine of Tretower) to solve the crime!

The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is a group of enthusiasts who research and selectively re-create the Middle Ages for knowledge and for fun. At their events, they wear historical clothing and call each other by medieval-style character names. Once a year, they meet to display their handiwork and stage a mock medieval war.

In Murder at the War, policeman Peter Brichter (known in the SCA as Stefan von Helle) and his wife, Kori (known as Katherine of Tretower) go to the war for the fun. But the revelry turns deadly serious when a known troublemaker, Thorstane Shieldbreaker, is actually murdered. The local police, anxious to find the culprit, turn their attention to Peter and Kori as suspects once they find the two have quarreled with Thorstane. It is up to Lord Stefan and Lady Katherine, with their knowledge of the SCA, to clear their names and solve the crime.

The Society for Creative Anachronism is an odd mixture of pedantic realism and idealistic fantasy, full of complex individuals who have succeeded in living a dream without losing their hold on reality. Such a subculture provides a gold mine of unique and colorful characters, motivations, and methods for crime, and Pulver has made brilliant use of her material. With clarity and compassion, she follows her characters to the solution of a most unusual murder mystery. —Diana L. Paxson, originator of the Society for Creative Anachronism and author of Brisingamen and the Westria series

The war of the title, taking place on a farm in Pennsylvania, is attended by thousands of members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, whose dedication to medieval custom and costume is annually unloosed in this recreation of medieval battle and ceremony. … The rub of current times against the mores of centuries past gives rise to a pleasant friction. —Publisher’s Weekly

Pulver adds a fresh American luster to the traditional mystery. —Elizabeth Peters

…highly recommended for those who like some zany fun mixed with murder. —Library Journal


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The war of the title, taking place on a farm in Pennsylvania, is attended by thousands of members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, whose dedication to medieval custom and costume is annually unloosed in this recreation of medieval battle and ceremony. In period dressincluding full armor for the menwith names to match, SCA members speak in chivalrous tongue as King William leads the Midrealm (Midwestern) contingent in carefully regulated battle against King Oswin of the East. Also fighting are those in the Dark Horde, a group of independents who, like mercenaries, hire out to whichever side makes the best offer. But this year the fun comes to an abrupt end when Lord Torstane Shieldbreaker, a querulous and unpopular Horde member, is found near death from a real stab wound. Local modern-day cops suspect Lady Katherine of Tretower, first on the scene and most recent victim of Thorstane's unpleasantness. But Lord Stefan von Helle, her husband and a cop himself in the "mundane" world, solves the murder by figuring out the grammatical intent of Thorstane's last words. While the mystery itself is less than compelling, this first novel's characters are distinctive and its trappings certainly unique. The rub of current times against the mores of centuries past gives rise to a pleasant friction.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The annual gathering of the Society for Creative Anachronism in Pennsylvania is the scene of this thoroughly enjoyable first novel. All the participants, dressed in medieval garb, are assembled to fight the Pennsic War. But in the midst of the battle the most disruptive of the Mongol hoard is murdered. What follows is a clash between the state troopers and a group of 5400 people all acting like something out of King Arthur's Court. Even though a bit slim on mystery this is highly recommended for those who like some zany fun mixed with murder. JV
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 533 KB
  • Print Length: 260 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: FTL Publications (May 2, 2001)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002EZZJIM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,204 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good June 18, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had previously tried to read one of the medieval mysteries written by Margaret Frazer, who is actually Mary Monica Pulver writing with Gail Frazer. While I'm interested in the Middle Ages, I was so bored reading it, I couldn't finish. I worried this book would be of the same quality but my interest in the SCA motivated me to try it anyway. I was in the SCA years ago and attended Pennsic just a few years after this book was first published. This book promised lots of nostalgia and it delivered.

The first several pages took a bit to get through, learning both the mundane and SCA names of the many characters, and relearning SCA terminology. Once I had that down though, the story was up and running. Like the Margaret Frazer book, the murder doesn't happen until halfway through the story, but it didn't bother me half as much this time. The murderer was the first person I guessed but there were a few serious red herrings thrown in that threw me off. The characters were very likeable and I'm going to look up the next book in the series, even though it supposedly doesn't feature the SCA. After reading this, I was actually tempted to join up again, it was so fun reliving old times.

As for the review that implies Pulver can't write, ignore it. If the reviewer himself can't form proper sentences, what does that tell ya?
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Mary Monica Pulver's a longtime member of the SCA, and is well-qualified to write a mystery set in and among the Society's members at our largest gathering, the Pennsic War (upwards of 10,000 people onsite). Unlike _Bimbos of the Death Sun_ et seq., there's no attitude of "oh, look at the freaky weirdos who should get a life," instead, we get a sympathetic look at the SCA's subculture and how it meshes and clashes with the surrounding "mundane" world. The various groups within the SCA are presented fairly faithfully, although things now are not quite as they were when she wrote this book. The mystery element is honestly puzzling, and hinges on a bit of SCA lore that's in front of the reader's face from the beginning. A good first mystery novel, with an unusual setting.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for both medievalists and mystery fans! January 3, 1998
Format:Hardcover
Mary Monica Pulver has a knack for making each of her books unique--this one is an "exotic setting" mystery, located at a Medieval History group's annual re-creation of a "Medieval War." The victim is a fellow you'll love to hate and the main suspect is the wife of the detective/protagonist. All in all this is a fun romp in the woods in armor. Members of the Society for Creative Anachronism (a real living-history group) will recognize thinly veiled descriptions of their own members here--a touch of reality amidst the fantasy that makes this book a delightful read!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great fictional take on the SCA April 30, 2005
Format:Paperback
I grew up in the SCA, dragged to event after event (my first event was Pennsic 13!) by my father, who joined shortly after he divorced my mother. Twenty-one years later, he's still in the SCA and even serves on its Board of Directors.

Although it's been more than fifteen years since I was an active SCA member, I do remember fondly some of the time I spent as an adolescent in the Society, and I read this book as a means to reminiscence. This little book is a terrific mystery yarn that is also a very accurate portrayal of the nuances of SCA society and culture. I don't know if a non-SCA person would want to read it, though---it might be too confusing. But to current and former SCA folk, this is a terrific read, and it also shows that SCA folk on whole are just "regular people" with a rather unusual hobby.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique SCA setting - my introduction to Peter & Kori September 28, 2001
Format:Paperback
I greatly enjoyed this unusual and well-crafted mystery. The various Medieval recreationists and their activities which it vividly depicts are sympathetic and interesting, especially in the ways in which they affect the unfolding of the plot - one edition of this story is sub-titled, approximately, "A Medieval Mystery with a Modern Setting". Peter is a complex, very human detective.
This is the only entry in the Peter & Kori Brichter series in which the Society for Creative Anachronism has a major role, but they're all well-written stories ... so even if the SCA element was all that drew you to this book, I recommend you try the rest.
** I wish Ms. Pulver hadn't apparently stopped writing this series! However, she has apparently turned her attention instead to the Sister Frevisse Medieval series, which she [co-]authors under the name Margaret Frazer.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder at the War July 25, 2003
Format:Paperback
While receiving this book from a friend before I joined the society (SCA), I didn't understand the nuances of Pennsic War nor the intricate mannerisms of the characters. Since joining the society and seeing Pennsic War for myself, I understand the background of the book much better. Now I find it absolutely charming and have recommended it to many friends. The murder mystery is tantalizing and the characters feel so real. It's an absolute must read for any in the society or those wanting to be in the society.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you! March 20, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really appreciate this story because I couldn't go to Gulf Wars this year due to a fractured ankle. It was an interesting story that kept me quite entertained. I had to chuckle because the author wrote this several years ago and I just read it now. I enjoyed that the author also explained things so that the mundane reader who isn't part of the SCA could still read the story and be in the know.

Thank you again for an enjoyable read!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars I got bogged down in all the SCA details and people with two names...
I got bogged down in all the SCA details and confused with the people with two names (mundane and SCA). Read more
Published 1 month ago by ahammerquilts
5.0 out of 5 stars Job Well Done
I remembered this book as a vanity press book before there was Print On Demand, only sold in the grocery stores around Cooper's Lake. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Bard of Calandra
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read For The Serious Reenactor
Beautiful, Very Nice, Excellent Value, A Wonder To Behold, Pretty Good, Not That Bad, Quite Nice, A Fine Example For Us All, Fabulously Wonderful In Many Fine Ways.
Published 4 months ago by Lost And Confused
4.0 out of 5 stars quite amusing.
This book has a pretty funny setting. I learned a lot about re-enactment and medieval armor, so I gave it more stars.
Published 8 months ago by bloempje
2.0 out of 5 stars I always needed to read this one...
Four stars. It holds up surprisingly well to the society culture for as many years ago as it was written. I recommend it to anyone in the SCA. Svein Njalsson -Calontir.
Published 9 months ago by Duane Nelson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!
This was a well written and good book. I love the time period this was set in. It was very entertaining. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Patty Kercher
5.0 out of 5 stars Great to read on the way to an event or war!
A fun afternoon read for the SCA . A great to read on the way to an event or war!
Published 10 months ago by hlbronwyn
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice read for SCAers
At the largest event in the Society for Creative Anachronism a fighter ends up dead -- for real -- in the Woods Battle, If you know what all that means, you will certainly enjoy... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Rex Deaver
3.0 out of 5 stars It started a bit rough, but got better
There were a lot of people to keep track of without a lot of background. However, as the story progressed the ties between the characters got easier to follow. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Gwynneth Ott
5.0 out of 5 stars SCA Story
If you are in to the Society for Creative Anachronism, you need to read this book. Based on actual events!
Published 10 months ago by Gwyd
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